Royal Society of Literature

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Royal Society of Literature
Formation1820; 203 years ago (1820)
TypeLearned society
HeadquartersSomerset House, London, England, United Kingdom
Bernardine Evaristo OBE
Camilla, The Queen Consort

The Royal Society of Literature (RSL) is a learned society founded in 1820, by King George IV, to "reward literary merit and excite literary talent". A charity that represents the voice of literature in the UK, the RSL has about 600 Fellows, elected from among the best writers in any genre currently at work. Additionally, Honorary Fellows are chosen from those who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of literature, including publishers, agents, librarians, booksellers or producers. The society is a cultural tenant at London's Somerset House.


The Royal Society of Literature (RSL) was founded in 1820, with the patronage of George IV, to "reward literary merit and excite literary talent",[1] and its first president was Thomas Burgess, Bishop of St David's (who was later translated as Bishop of Salisbury).

At the heart of the RSL is its Fellowship, "which encompasses the most distinguished writers working today", with the RSL Council, Chair and President, who are responsible for its direction and management, being drawn from the Fellowship. As an independent charity, the RSL receives no regular public or government funding, relying on the support of its Members, Patrons, Fellows and friends to continue its work. The RSL has about 600 Fellows, elected from among the best writers in any genre currently at work. Additionally, Honorary Fellows are chosen from those who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of literature, including publishers, agents, librarians, booksellers or producers, or who have rendered special service to the RSL.[2] Paid membership is open to all and offers a variety of benefits.[3][4]

The society publishes an annual magazine, The Royal Society of Literature Review,[5] and administers a number of literary prizes and awards, including the RSL Ondaatje Prize, the RSL Giles St Aubyn Awards for Non-Fiction, the RSL Encore Award for best second novel of the year and the V. S. Pritchett Memorial Prize for short stories.

In 2000, the RSL published a volume that provides a description and history of the society, written by one of its fellows, Isabel Quigly.[6]

In 2020, the RSL celebrated its 200th anniversary with the announcement of RSL 200, "a five-year festival launched with a series of major new initiatives and 60 new appointments championing the great diversity of writing and writers in the UK".[7] Initiatives included RSL Open (electing new Fellows from communities, backgrounds and experiences currently under-represented in UK literary culture), RSL International Writers (recognising the contribution of writers across the globe to literature in English)[7] and Sky Arts RSL Writers Awards.[8]

In 2021, the RSL launched "Literature Matters: Reading Together", a project aiming to make recreational reading accessible to young people across the UK.[9]


The society maintains its current level of about 600 Fellows of the Royal Society of Literature: generally 14 new fellows are elected annually, who are accorded the privilege of using the post-nominal letters FRSL.

Past and present fellows include Samuel Taylor Coleridge, J. R. R. Tolkien, W. B. Yeats, Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Hardy, George Bernard Shaw, Arthur Koestler, Chinua Achebe, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Robert Ardrey, Sybille Bedford, Muriel Spark, P. J. Kavanagh, and Sir Roger Scruton. Present Fellows include Margaret Atwood, Bernardine Evaristo, David Hare, Kazuo Ishiguro, Hilary Mantel, Andrew Motion, Paul Muldoon, Zadie Smith, Nadeem Aslam, Sarah Waters, Geoffrey Ashe and J. K. Rowling. A newly created fellow inscribes his or her name on the society's official roll using either Byron's pen, T. S. Eliot's fountain pen, which replaced Dickens's quill in 2013,[10] or (as of 2018) George Eliot's pen,[11] with pens belonging to Jean Rhys and Andrea Levy being additional choices from 2020.[12][13]

From time to time, the RSL confers the honour and title of Companion of Literature to writers of particular note. Additionally, the RSL can bestow its award of the Benson Medal for lifetime service in the field of literature.


The RSL runs a membership programme offering a variety of events to members and the general public. Membership of the RSL is open to all.[14]

The RSL also runs an outreach programme, currently for young people and those in prison.

Awards and prizes[edit]

The RSL administers two annual prizes, two awards, and two honours. Through its prize programmes, the RSL supports new and established contemporary writers.

  • The RSL Christopher Bland Prize — £10,000 for debut prose writers over the age of 50.
  • The Encore Awards — £10,000 for best second novel of the year. The RSL took over the administration of this award in 2016.
  • The RSL Giles St Aubyn Awards for Non-Fiction – annual awards, currently one of £10,000 and one of £5,000 and one of £2,500, to authors engaged on their first commissioned works of non-fiction (replaced the Jerwood Award in 2017).
  • The RSL Ondaatje Prize – an annual award of £10,000 for a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, evoking the spirit of a place.
  • The V. S. Pritchett Memorial Prize – an annual prize of £1,000 for the best unpublished short story of the year.
  • The Benson Medal – awarded to those who have done sustained and outstanding service to literature.
  • Companion of Literature – the highest honour that the Society can bestow upon a writer.

Council and presidents[edit]

The Council of the Royal Society of Literature is central to the election of new fellows, and directs the RSL's activities through its monthly meetings. Council members serve for a fixed term of four years, with new members being elected by Council when members retire.[15]

Camilla, Queen Consort of the United Kingdom
Bernardine Evaristo OBE
Presidents Emeriti
Sir Michael Holroyd CBE FRHistS C Lit
Colin Thubron CBE
Marina Warner DBE
Chair of Council
Daljit Nagra MBE
Vice-Chair of Council
Irenosen Okojie MBE

List of presidents[edit]


The Royal Society of Literature comprises more than 600 Fellows, who are entitled to use the post-nominal letters FRSL.

New fellows of the Royal Society of Literature are elected by its current fellows. To be nominated for fellowship, a writer must have published two works of literary merit, and nominations must be seconded by an RSL fellow. All nominations are presented to members of the Council of the Royal Society of Literature, who vote biannually to elect new fellows. Nominated candidates who have not been successful are reconsidered at every election for three years from the year in which they were proposed. Newly elected fellows are introduced at the Society's AGM and summer party. While the President reads a citation for each, they are invited to sign their names in the roll book which dates back to 1820, using either T. S. Eliot's fountain pen or Byron's pen. In 2013, Charles Dickens' quill was retired and replaced with Eliot's fountain pen,[10] and in 2018 George Eliot's pen was offered as a choice, the first time in the RSL's history that a pen that belonged to a woman writer was an option.[11]

In 2018, the RSL honoured the achievements of Britain's younger writers through the initiative "40 Under 40", which saw the election of 40 new fellows aged under 40.[16]

In 2020, pens belonging to Andrea Levy and Jean Rhys were added to the choices offered to fellows for signing the RSL roll book.[12][17]

Current fellows[edit]

The current list of approximately 600 fellows:
Fellow Year of
*Julia Abel Smith DL 2008
*Melanie Abrahams FRSA 2020
Peter Ackroyd CBE 1984
Donald Adamson JP FSA FRHistS 1983
Fleur Adcock CNZM OBE 1984
Sulaiman Addonia 2022
Diran Adebayo 2006
John Agard 2007
*Sandra Agard, Benson Medallist 2022
Bola Agbaje 2018
Patience Agbabi 2017
Hanan al-Shaykh 2019
*Clare Alexander 2021
Monica Ali 2019
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown 2022
Keith Alldritt 1978
*Ellah Wakatama Allfrey OBE 2019
David Almond OBE 2011
*David Altaras 1996
Martin Amis 1983
Mark Amory 1996
Tahmima Anam 2017
*Linda Anderson 2020
Carole Angier 2002
Raymond Antrobus MBE 2020
Kwame Anthony Appiah 2017
Lisa Appignanesi OBE 2015
Anne Applebaum 2021
Michael Arditti 2022
Chloe Aridjis 2020
Simon Armitage CBE 2004
Claire Armitstead 2022
Karen Armstrong OBE 2005
Bruce Arnold OBE 1994
Mona Arshi 2022
Michael Asher 1996
Rosemary Ashton OBE FBA 1999
Zawe Ashton 2021
Jenn Ashworth 2018
Nadeem Aslam 2010
*Syima Aslam 2019
Polly Atkin 2022
Kate Atkinson MBE 2010
Margaret Atwood CC FRSC C Lit 2010
Sir Alan Ayckbourn CBE 1991
*Pete Ayrton 2019
David Baddiel 2019
Paul Bailey 1999
*Bibi Bakare-Yusuf 2019
Sarah Bakewell 2012
John Banville 2007
Richard Barber FSA FRHistS 1971
Juliet Barker 2001
Pat Barker CBE 1995
Damian Barr 2020
Sebastian Barry 2009
Susan Bassnett 2007
Sir Jonathan Bate CBE FBA 2004
Laura Bates BEM 2018
Martin Bax 2002
Sally Bayley 2021
Dame Mary Beard DBE FBA FSA 2019
Dame Gillian Beer DBE FBA 2006
Sir Antony Beevor 1999
*Sharmilla Beezmohun 2019
Rosalind Belben 1999
Jay Bernard 2018
Emily Berry 2018
Homi Bhabha 2021
*Xandra Bingley 2019
*Robert Binyon 2000
Dea Birkett 2000
Julia Blackburn 2002
Terence Blacker 2017
Malorie Blackman OBE 2009
Sir Quentin Blake CBE RDI 2013
Rachael Boast 2022
* Ruth Borthwick 2018
Elleke Boehmer FRHistS 2019
Malika Booker 2022
* Mair Bosworth 2020
William Boyd CBE 1982
Susie Boyt 2022
Melvyn Bragg (The Lord Bragg) CH 1971
Piers Brendon 2010
Howard Brenton 2017
Simon Brett OBE 2015
Robin Briggs FBA FRHistS 1999
*Jenny Brown 2021
*Tony Brown 2020
Alan Brownjohn 1999
James Buchan 2001
Moira Buffini 2014
Melvin Burgess 2022
Anna Burns 2021
John Burnside FRSE 1999
*Margaret Busby CBE, Benson Medallist 2017
Jez Butterworth 2019
A. S. Byatt (Dame Antonia Byatt DBE) 1983
David Cairns CBE 2001
Lucy Caldwell 2018
Sir David Cannadine FBA FSA FRHistS 1999
Vahni Capildeo 2019
John Carey FBA 1982
Peter Carey AO 1989
Ciaran Carson 2014
Miranda Carter 2011
Helen Castor 2017
David Caute JP FRHistS 1998
Nick Cave 2022
Hugh Cecil 1997
Aidan Chambers 2009
Debjani Chatterjee MBE 2019
Amit Chaudhuri 2009
Tracy Chevalier 2008
Kayo Chingonyi 2022
Anne Chisholm OBE 1989
Rupert Christiansen 1997
Kate Clanchy MBE 2010
Susannah Clapp 2013
Gillian Clarke 2000
John Clay 1998
*Michael Codron CBE 2019
Jonathan Coe 2012
Michaela Coel 2022
J. M. Coetzee 1988
Richard Cohen 2017
*Gill Coleridge 2021
Linda Colley (Lady Cannadine CBE FBA FRHistS) 2004
Sophie Collins 2018
Cressida Connolly 2020
Tony Connor 1972
P. J. Conrad 1974
Peter Conradi 2010
David Constantine 2007
*Jon Cook 2021
Artemis Cooper (Lady Beevor) 2016
Susan Cooper 2020
Wendy Cope OBE 1992
John Cornwell 1985
Frank Cottrell Boyce 2012
Cressida Cowell MBE 2021
Jim Crace 1999
Robert Crawford FBA FRSE 2021
Kevin Crossley-Holland 1998
Tony Curtis 2000
Rachel Cusk 2012
David Dabydeen 2000
Fred D'Aguiar 2022
William Dalrymple FRSE FRGS FRAS 1995
Richard Davenport-Hines FRHistS 2003
Andrew Davies 1996
Carys Davies 2022
Norman Davies CMG FBA FRHistS 2013
Paul Davies AM 1999
Russell T. Davies 2022
Stevie Davies 1998
Dick Davis 1981
Richard Dawkins FRS 1997
Jill Dawson 2020
April De Angelis 2020
Louis de Bernières 2006
Margreta de Grazia 2021
Alain de Botton 2011
*Tim Dee 2017
Ferdinand Dennis 2022
Edmund de Waal CBE 2021
Kit de Waal 2022
Anita Desai, Benson Medallist 1978
Imtiaz Dharker 2010
David Dilks FRHistS 1986
Maura Dooley 2006
*Jonathan Douglas 2021
Robert Douglas-Fairhurst[18] 2015
Roddy Doyle 2003
Dame Margaret Drabble DBE 1973
Jane Draycott 2020
Dame Carol Ann Duffy DBE 1999
Maureen Duffy FKC, Benson Medallist, Vice-President 1985
Sasha Dugdale 2020
Ian Duhig 2006
Douglas Dunn OBE 1981
Jane Dunn 1999
Nell Dunn 2004
Geoff Dyer 2005
Will Eaves 2021
Reni Eddo-Lodge 2021
David Edgar 1985
Helen Edmundson 2015
Yvvette Edwards 2020
Max Egremont (The Lord Egremont DL FSA) 2001
Menna Elfyn 2015
Inua Ellams 2018
Anne Enright 2010
Diana Evans 2020
Sir Richard Evans FBA FRHistS FLSW 1999
Bernardine Evaristo OBE 2004
Sir Richard Eyre CBE 2011
Ruth Fainlight 2007
Duncan Fallowell 2015
Kit Fan 2022
Paul Farley 2012
Sebastian Faulks CBE 1994
Lara Feigel 2018
James Fenton FRSA 1983
Adam Fergusson MEP 2009
Maggie Fergusson MBE 2007
The Hon. William Fiennes 2009
Orlando Figes 2003
Anne Fine OBE 2003
Tibor Fischer 2003
Leontia Flynn 2022
Richard Ford 2012
Aminatta Forna OBE 2012
Richard Fortey FRS 2009
Roy Foster FBA FRHistS 1992
Adam Foulds 2009
*Dan Franklin 2019
Peter Frankopan 2020
Lady Antonia Fraser DBE 2003
Robert Fraser 2007
Michael Frayn C Lit 1969
Maureen Freely 2012
Esther Freud 2019
Stephen Fry 2019
Athol Fugard OIS 1986
John Fuller 1980
Neil Gaiman 2018
Patrick Gale 2021
Jane Gardam OBE 2005
*Anthony Gardner 2004
Philip Gardner 1986
Alan Garner OBE 2011
Timothy Garton Ash CMG FRHistS 2005
Jamila Gavin 2015
*Kate Gavron 2020
Maggie Gee OBE, Vice-President 1994
Adèle Geras 2013
Amitav Ghosh 2009
Peter Gill 2019
The Hon. Sir David Gilmour Bt 1990
Paul Gilroy FBA 2016
Lesley Glaister 1994
The Hon. Victoria Glendinning CBE, Vice-President 1982
Julian Gloag 1970
Salena Godden 2020
*David Godwin 2020
Vesna Goldsworthy 2021
*Lennie Goodings 2020
Edmund Gordon 2018
Lyndall Gordon 2002
Warwick Gould FRSA 1997
James Graham OBE 2018
Colin Grant 2020
Linda Grant 2013
*Victoria Gray 2021
Anthony Grayling CBE 2006
Peter Green 1956
Lavinia Greenlaw 2004
Bonnie Greer OBE 2022
Germaine Greer 2016
John Gribbin 1999
Niall Griffiths 2022
Romesh Gunesekera 2004
Kirsty Gunn 2020
Xiaolu Guo 2022
Tanika Gupta MBE 2016
Abdulrazak Gurnah 2006
Jen Hadfield 2021
Tessa Hadley 2009
John Haffenden FBA 1986
The Lord Hague PC 2009
Daniel Hahn OBE 2020
Sarah Hall 2016
John Halperin 1985
Sir Christopher Hampton CBE 1976
Sir David Hare 1985
Claire Harman 2006
Richard Harries (The Rt Rev The Lord Harries of Pentregarth) 1996
Alexandra Harris 2013
Joanne Harris 2022
Robert Harris 1996
Tony Harrison 1984
David Harsent 1999
Rosalind Harvey 2018
Sir Max Hastings FRHistS 1996
Lady Selina Hastings 1994
Roy Hattersley (The Lord Hattersley PC) 2003
Daisy Hay 2018
Cameron Hazlehurst FRHistS 1973
John Hemming CMG 2013
Philip Hensher 1998
W. N. Herbert 2015
Rachel Hewitt 2018
Ella Hickson 2018
Rosemary Hill 2010
Tobias Hill 2011
Bevis Hillier 1997
Tim Hilton 1993
Henry Hitchings 2015
Peter Hobbs 2014
Eva Hoffman 2007
*Andrew Holgate 2020
Tom Holland 2016
Alan Hollinghurst 1995
*Richard Hollis 2019
Richard Holmes OBE FBA 1975
Sir Michael Holroyd CBE FRHistS C Lit, President Emeritus 1968
Jeremy Hooker 2021
Christopher Hope 1990
Nick Hornby 1996
*Sarah Hosking 2021
Sarah Howe 2018
Kerry Hudson 2020
Kathryn Hughes FRHistS 2006
Lucy Hughes-Hallett 2010
Roland Huntford 2001
Aamer Hussein 2004
Angela Huth 1978
*Sir Nicholas Hytner 2019
Armando Iannucci OBE 2019
Robert Icke 2018
Robert Irwin 2001
Kazuo Ishiguro OBE 1989
Howard Jacobson 2012
Kathleen Jamie FRSE 2009
Deborah Jay 2005
Alan Jenkins 2002
Sir Simon Jenkins FSA 2003
Liz Jensen 2005
Catherine Johnson 2019
Linton Kwesi Johnson 2013
*Paula Johnson 2008
Jennifer Johnston 2009
Cynan Jones 2019
Steve Jones FRS 2011
Gabriel Josipovici FBA 1997
Alan Judd 1990
Margaret Jull Costa OBE 2013
Meena Kandasamy 2022
Bhanu Kapil 2022
Jackie Kay CBE FRSE 2002
Jonathan Keates FSA 1992
Laurence Kelly 2003
Peter Kemp[19] 2015
Thomas Keneally AO 1973
A. L. Kennedy 1999
*The Duke of Kent KG 1978
Hannah Khalil 2022
Mimi Khalvati 2009
Thomas Kilroy 1972
Lucy Kirkwood 2018
Matthew Kneale 2003
Zaffar Kunial 2022
Hari Kunzru CBE 2014
Hanif Kureishi CBE 2008
Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE 2014
David Kynaston 2010
Olivia Laing 2019
Nick Laird 2013
John Lanchester 2002
Robin Lane Fox 1974
Lee Langley 1996
James Lasdun 2009
Bryony Lavery 2002
Mark Lawson 2015
Zachary Leader 2007
Dame Hermione Lee DBE FBA 1992
Brendan Lehane 1999
Mike Leigh OBE 2008
Rebecca Lenkiewicz 2017
Deborah Levy 2017
Paul Levy 1980
Gwyneth Lewis 1999
Alison Light FBA 2021
Joanne Limburg 2022
Dame Penelope Lively DBE 1985
Samuel Lock 2001
David Lodge CBE 1976
Michael Longley CBE 1988
*Sharmaine Lovegrove 2021
Hannah Lowe 2022
Edward Lucie-Smith 1964
Andrew Lycett 2010
Richard Mabey 2011
Alexander McCall Smith CBE FRSE 2014
Karen McCarthy Woolf 2022
Geraldine McCaughrean 2009
Val McDermid FRSE 2016
Ian McDonald AA 1970
Ian McEwan CBE 1983
Robert Macfarlane 2011
Lisa McGee 2022
Roger McGough CBE 2004
Patrick McGrath 2002
Patrick McGuinness 2019
Jamie McKendrick 2014
Andrew McMillan 2020
Ian McMillan 2022
Ben Macintyre 2014
Shena Mackay 1999
Rory MacLean 2007
*Christopher MacLehose CBE 2021
Margaret MacMillan CH CC FBA 2003
Tessa McWatt 2021
Candia McWilliam 1994
Sabrina Mahfouz 2018
Sir Noel Malcolm FBA 1997
David Malouf 2008
Norman Manea 2011
Alberto Manguel OC 2010
Philip Mansel 2010
Patrick Marber 2002
Patrick Marnham 1988
Justin Marozzi 2021
Philip Marsden 1996
Rosalind Marshall 1974
Adam Mars-Jones 2007
Yann Martel 2014
Francesca Martinez 2022
Allan Massie CBE 1982
Hisham Matar 2012
Douglas Matthews MBE FCLIP, Benson Medallist 1998
Glyn Maxwell 1999
*Shirley May 2020
Jonathan Meades 2019
James Meek 2020
Gita Mehta 2021
Pauline Melville 2018
Edward Mendelson 2003
Jeffrey Meyers 1983
China Miéville 2015
Andrew Miller 2012
Kei Miller 2018
Michael Millgate FRSC 1983
Pankaj Mishra 2008
Rohinton Mistry CM 2009
David Mitchell 2013
Julian Mitchell FSA 1985
Deborah Moggach OBE 1999
Nadifa Mohamed 2018
Ray Monk 2015
Caroline Moorehead OBE 1993
David Morley 2018
Sir Michael Morpurgo OBE 2004
Sinéad Morrissey 2019
Blake Morrison 1988
Helen Mort 2018
Sarah Moss 2019
Kate Mosse OBE 2020
Sir Andrew Motion 1984
Sir Ferdinand Mount Bt 1991
Fiona Mozley 2022
Paul Muldoon 1981
Raman Mundair 2022
Alice Munro C Lit 2002
Richard Murphy OBE 1968
Daljit Nagra 2017
*Susheila Nasta MBE, Benson Medallist 2019
Charles Nicholl 2005
Grace Nichols 2007
Virginia Nicholson 2019
William Nicholson OBE 1999
Adam Nicolson (The Lord Carnock FSA) 2005
*Alastair Niven OBE LVO, Benson Medallist 2021
The Hon. Gerard Noel 1999
Barney Norris 2018
Edna O'Brien Hon DBE 2011
Sean O'Brien 2007
Bernard O'Donoghue 1999
Maggie O'Farrell 2021
Andrew O'Hagan 2010
Redmond O'Hanlon 1993
Irenosen Okojie MBE 2018
Ben Okri OBE 1997
Musa Okwonga 2022
David Olusoga OBE 2019
*Sir Christopher Ondaatje OC CBE 2003
Michael Ondaatje OC 2012
Chibundu Onuzo 2018
Susie Orbach 2019
*Ursula Owen 2020
Helen Oyeyemi 2012
Ruth Padel 1998
*Stephen Page 2019
Sir Michael Palin KCMG CBE 2020
Peter Parker 1997
Sandeep Parmar 2020
Vinay Patel 2018
Don Paterson OBE 2004
Brian Patten 2003
*Polly Pattullo 2022
Tim Pears 2012
Sarah Perry 2018
Pascale Petit 2018
*Ruthie Petrie 2021
Adam Phillips 2012
Caryl Phillips 2000
Mike Phillips OBE 2000
Winsome Pinnock 2020
David Plante 2002
Stephen Poliakoff CBE 1985
Peter Pomerantsev 2021
Max Porter 2020
Lucy Prebble 2018
*Alexandra Pringle 2017
*Stuart Profitt 2019
(Baron) David Profumo 1995
*Simon Prosser 2021
David Pryce-Jones 1980
Philip Pullman CBE, Vice-President 2001
Craig Raine 1984
Nina Raine 2019
Ross Raisin 2018
Ian Rankin OBE DL FRSE 2016
Nicholas Rankin 2009
Frederic Raphael 1964
Sigrid Rausing 2020
Piers Paul Read 1972
Anne Redmon 1980
Christopher Reid 1999
Sir Christopher Ricks FBA 1970
Professor The Hon. Jane Ridley 2007
The Viscount Ridley DL FMedSci 1999
Denise Riley 2019
Gwendoline Riley 2018
William Rivière 2000
Graham Robb 1999
Andrew Roberts FRHistS 2001
Michèle Roberts 1999
Robin Robertson 2010
Roger Robinson 2020
*Fiammetta Rocco 2021
Monique Roffey 2022
Jane Rogers 1994
Stephen Romer 2011
Jacqueline Rose 2022
Michael Rosen 2006
Meg Rosoff 2013
Jacob Ross 2006
J. K. Rowling CH OBE 2002
Anthony Rudolf FEA 2005
Carol Rumens 1984
David Runciman (The Viscount Runciman of Doxford FBA) 2021
Katherine Rundell 2020
Sir Salman Rushdie CH 1983
Frances Ryan 2022
Amy Sackville 2018
Sunjeev Sahota 2018
S. F. Said 2021
Lawrence Sail 1998
Edward St Aubyn 2011
*Marina Salandy-Brown FRSA 2020
Fiona Sampson MBE 2010
*Sarah Sanders 2020
Philippe Sands KC 2020
Sathnam Sanghera 2016
J. J. Scarisbrick MBE FRHistS 1969
Sir Simon Schama CBE FBA 2016
Ann Schlee 1997
Michael Schmidt OBE 1993
*Patricia Schute 1991
Lawrence Scott 2019
Ruth Scurr 2015
Simon Sebag-Montefiore 2003
Anne Sebba 2021
Elisa Segrave 2001
Richard Sennett OBE 1999
*Kadija Sesay MBE 2021
Vikram Seth CBE 1994
Miranda Seymour FRSA 1996
Elif Shafak 2019
Nicholas Shakespeare 1999
Kamila Shamsie 2011
Jo Shapcott 1999
Warsan Shire 2018
Elaine Showalter 2011
Nikesh Shukla 2019
*William Sieghart CBE 2019
Posy Simmonds MBE 2004
Helen Simpson 1996
Iain Sinclair 2009
Adam Sisman 2015
Lemn Sissay 2022
Robert Skidelsky (The Lord Skidelsky of Tilton FBA FRHistS) 1978
Gillian Slovo 2013
Dorothea Smartt 2019
Ali Smith CBE 2007
Cherry Smyth 2022
Deborah Smith 2018
*John Saumarez Smith, Benson Medallist 1996
Zadie Smith 2002
*Nicola Solomon 2019
Ahdaf Soueif 2002
*Wole Soyinka, Benson Medallist 1983
Frances Spalding CBE 1984
*Nicholas Spice 2019
Jean Sprackland 2021
Francis Spufford 2007
Hilary Spurling CBE 2005
Sir John Spurling KCVO OBE 2010
Martin Stannard 1999
C. K. Stead ONZ CBE 1995
Polly Stenham MBE 2018
Rory Stewart OBE MP 2009
Stanley Stewart 2001
Sir Tom Stoppard OM CBE C Lit 1972
Rebecca Stott 2021
Sir Roy Strong CH FSA 1999
Andrea Stuart 2014
Kate Summerscale 2010
*Tom Sutcliffe 2020
John Sutherland 1990
*David Sutton, Benson Medallist 2012
Graham Swift 1984
Charlie Swinbourne 2022
Meera Syal CBE 2017
Michael Symmons Roberts 2014
George Szirtes 1982
Bryan Talbot 2018
D. J. Taylor 1997
Joelle Taylor 2022
Sara Taylor 2018
Kae Tempest 2015
Adam Thirlwell 2018
Dame Emma Thompson DBE 2021
Ian Thomson 2003
Rupert Thomson 2015
Jack Thorne 2020
Colin Thubron CBE, President 1969
Ann Thwaite 1987
Stella Tillyard 2019
Gillian Tindall 1983
Colm Tóibín 2007
(Count) Nikolai Tolstoy 1979
Claire Tomalin, Vice-President 1976
*Boyd Tonkin, Benson Medallist 2020
Barbara Trapido 2011
Jeremy Treglown 1989
Dame Rose Tremain DBE 1983
Lynne Truss 2004
Jenny Uglow CBE FSA, Benson Medallist 1998
*The Prince of Wales KG OM 2002
James Walvin OBE 2006
Alan Warner 2013
Dame Marina Warner FBA 1984
Val Warner 1998
Sarah Waters OBE 2009
Robert Wells 1994
Stanley Wells CBE 2013
Timberlake Wertenbaker 1999
Sara Wheeler 1999
Helen Wilcox FRSA FEA 1999
Verna Wilkins 2021
Eley Williams 2018
Hugo Williams 1988
Nigel Williams 1994
The Rt Revd The Lord Williams of Oystermouth PC FBA FLSW 2003
*Mary-Kay Wilmers, Benson Medallist 2017
A. N. Wilson 1982
Frances Wilson 2008
Dame Jacqueline Wilson DBE 2005
Jeanette Winterson CBE 2016
*Gaby Wood 2021
James Wood 2011
Michael Wood 1992
Gerard Woodward 2005
Pamela Woof 1999
Kit Wright 1997
Ann Wroe FRHistS 2007
Evie Wyld 2018
*The Baroness Young of Hornsey OBE 2020
Gary Younge 2021
Adam Zamoyski FSA 2006
Theodore Zeldin CBE FBA FRHistS 1999

The * before the name denotes an Honorary Fellow. The list is online at the RSL website.[20]

RSL International Writers[edit]

The RSL International Writers programme is a new life-long honour and award recognizing the contribution of writers across the globe to literature in English, and the power of literature to transcend borders in bringing people together.[21]

Year Writer Country Language(s) Genre(s) Panel of Nominators
2021[21] Don Mee Choi (b. 1962)  South Korea
 United States
Korean and
poetry, translation
Annie Ernaux (b. 1940)  France French novel, memoir, autobiography
David Grossman (b. 1954)  Israel Hebrew novel, essays
Jamaica Kincaid (b. 1949)  Antigua and Barbuda
 United States
English novel, essays, short story
Yan Lianke (b. 1958)  China Mandarin novel, short story
Amin Maalouf (b. 1949)  Lebanon
French novel, essays
Alain Mabanckou (b. 1966)  Republic of Congo
French novel, poetry, essays
Javier Marías (1950–2022)  Spain Spanish novel, short story, essays, translation
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (b. 1938)  Kenya English and
novel, drama, short story, essays
Claudia Rankine (b. 1963)  United States English poetry, essays, drama
Olga Tokarczuk (b. 1962)  Poland Polish novel, short story, poetry, essay, screenplay
Dubravka Ugrešić (1949–2023)  Croatia Croatian novel, essays
2022[22] Anne Carson (b. 1950)  Canada English poetry, essays
Maryse Condé (b. 1937)  France French novel, drama, essays
Tsitsi Dangarembga (b. 1959)  Zimbabwe English novel, drama, essays, screenplay
Cornelia Funke (b. 1958)  Germany German novel
Mary Gaitskill (b. 1954)  United States English novel, short story, essays
Faïza Guène (b. 1985)  France French novel
Saidiya Hartman (b. 1960)  United States English essays
Kim Hyesoon (b. 1955)  South Korea Korean poetry, essays
Yōko Ogawa (b. 1962)  Japan Japanese novel, short story, essays
Raja Shehadeh (b. 1951)  Palestine Arabic memoirs, essays
Juan Gabriel Vásquez (b. 1973)  Colombia Spanish novel, short story, essays
Samar Yazbek (b. 1970)  Syria Arabic novel, short story, essays


  1. ^ "History". The Royal Society of Literature. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Fellows". The Royal Society of Literature. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  3. ^ "About us — Who we are". The Royal Society of Literature. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
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